1. Sugar cane juice
Care for a glass of some freshly squeezed sugar cane juice with a splash of calamansi on a hot day? The raw juice is extracted by squeezing the sugar cane to obtain the semi-sweet yellow liquid. Serve with some ice and calamansi, and you've just made yourself the perfect summer beverage! But why the fad? The rage behind anything GMO-free isn't about to die down anytime soon, and with yet another all-natural product that claims to be good for the health, it isn't at all surprising that more and more people are beginning to add the raw sugar cane juice to their daily diet. As a natural energy drink that can cleanse, detoxify and add stamina to an active day, the raw juice is gaining a lot of popularity among health buffs and weight-watchers alike. As yet another competitor in the health drink craze, it's quite surprising that only now are we seeing alternative uses for the sugar cane which is so distinct to the Philippines. Sold in weekend food markets around Metro Manila, like the weekly Salcedo and Legaspi events, the raw sugar cane juice is definitely proving to be a hit!
The little green leaves used in many of our favorite home cooked meals aren't just for decorative purposes-- or for using up whatever's been planted in your garden. Aside from the old wive's tale that pregnant and lactating mothers should consume malunggay leaves or moringa oleifera daily in order to increase calcium levels in their milk, there is actually more truth to the adage that only gives malunggay more potential as a product that's export perfect. Touted as the new miracle vegetable, an ounce of the little leaves contain four times the calcium than in a glass of milk, more Vitamin C than in seven oranges, three times the potassium than in bananas, and four times the Vitamin A in carrots. Who knew something so small could be so powerful? Due to its ease of production, a number of Malunggay products are currently available. Tablets, tea, coffee, juice and even facial wash, toners and moisturizer are available in local stores nationwide.
3. Cacao beans
The best thing about chocolate is that it makes life sweet, and a life without it, is definitely no way to live. Cacao plants have been a major part of human civilization for centuries, and it just so happens that the Philippine climate is perfect for growing them. Requiring a regular amount of rainfall to thrive, the tropical weather in the country and our copious amounts of tropical storms make growing the plants a cinch. Turning cacao beans into chocolate is another thing altogether, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to an ingredient that can be used in so many ways! Local chocolatiers Theobroma and Theo and Philo use Philippine cacao beans in all their products, which definitely proves that our beans are gold!
Honey is a super food that never goes sour-- its health benefits are so numerous, that it's surprising more people aren't making a teaspoonful a day part of their daily regimen. Honey acts as a natural antiseptic, a natural energy source, a beauty product for hair, skin and nails, and even a digestive aid for metabolic problems. The sweet stuff comes loaded with antioxidants that wage war against the free radicals attacking the body, allowing cells to regenerate faster, and making us look and feel younger, longer. It helps heal the skin, and prevents the growth of bacteria on open cuts and wounds. Honey also speeds up the metabolism, so weight-conscious people straying away from sugar should opt for the clean calories in the syrupy stuff instead! In the Philippines, bee farms like Ilog Maria, Tobee's Apiary and Bohol Bee Farm are pioneers in the local honey industry, producing quality products made of honey and other all-natural ingredients.
(Check out: Honey Health)
5. Bamboo textile
As the largest member of the grass family, and one of the fastest-growing plants, bamboo grows over 35 meters high, and can reach up to 100 centimeters in just 24 hours. As a versatile material, its use in construction is common throughout Asia for its capacity to withstand heavy loads. More recently, bamboo textiles have been making the rounds as an alternative to traditional cotton cloth. Its fibers, a cellulose extract from the inside of the bamboo shoot, are processed and spun into yarn-- sometimes mixed with a small amount of cotton or nylon. Amazingly enough, bamboo fiber is naturally antimicrobial, prohibiting the growth of germs and bacteria, making it hypoallergenic for people with sensitive skin. In contrast to cotton, bamboo is cheaper and more cost efficient to produce, with high harvest yields that can make thousands of yards in only a few days.